In its simplest terms, storytelling is about telling stories. From bedtime stories to professional narratives, storytelling is still an effective communication method.
There is nothing more engaging than using a story to highlight an important issue. A visual aid presentation amplifies a good story. Examples include films, pictures, data and graphs, to name just a few.
Long before people had learnt to write storytelling existed.
Why Tell a Story
What do children, students or leaders have in common when learning?
Motivational stories may help a child to behave, a student to mature and a leader to inspire.
It may not be the most popular idea but storytelling is an effective method of teaching, learning and inspiring.
Stories can connect people, in spite of overwhelming cultural and socio-economic differences. A sense of unity and understanding may be cultivated through the relationships that are woven into storytelling.
Common ground can be reached, paving a way for discussion, establishing facts and creating an ideal opportunity for learning, growth and development.
Ten Ways to Impact Storytelling
Storytelling plays a significant role in conveying an idea. It is an easy way to start a conversation or send a message.
What is most at stake is that the story is appealing and impactful to the reader or listener.
Below are ten ways to help make an impact when storytelling.
1 – Know Your Target Audience
The most fundamental aspect is to identify your target audience. This applies to all useful communication skill sets.
Align your topic and delivery style according to the classification of the audience, avoiding irrelevant narratives in a speech or discussion.
This will improve interaction with the audience and reduce the potential for boredom eg it would be nonsensical to share “juvenile-style storytelling” in a professional setting.
Failure to identify your target audience is one of the most classic pitfalls to be avoided at all costs.
2 – Remember the Basics – Beginning, Crisis and Resolution
Skipping the basics of storytelling is disastrous. Many speakers become hyped up with the story’s climax whilst forgetting the basic elements. Time and content constraints are factors that will necessitate a shortcut.
Storytelling consists of three major elements. The beginning anchors the setting, characters and goal of the account. The crisis answers the question why—why is the story being shared? It also highlights the climax, which draws the audience closer. The resolution presents the lesson or the moral of the story.
The goal of the story becomes pointless if any of these elements are bypassed. The account loses value and impact. It shouldn’t even be called a story.
3 – Keep Short and to the Point
One of the purposes of the three steps mentioned is to maintain direction towards the point.
Storytellers can all too often become carried away with reminiscing. They tend to dwell on the memories they are sharing rather than the motive of the story.
Keeping short does not mean simply reducing the amount of content. This could simply compromise the story’s purpose. The aim must be both short AND at the same time direct to the point.
4 – Stay Relevant and Focused
Compelling storytelling retains relevance throughout.
The story must always align with the goal of the speech or discussion. Avoid anything out of context at all times to remain relevant and consistent.
For example, a “kill the time” mindset may be tempting in order to lengthen (or shorten) a speech, but may result in loss of relevance to the topic. This is apparent when nerves overtake self-confidence, often during public speaking.
As a rule of thumb, don’t treat storytelling as merely an “icebreaker” during a speech or presentation. A story should enhance the message or make it easier to understand.
5 – Use Facts and Reliable Data
Nowadays, access to vital information is at our fingertips, thanks to the Internet.
Make use of the online portal. Search for scientific information or data to support the storyline. This should make a story more compelling to the audience. The data-driven account makes a message reliable and impacts the audience to a greater degree.
There are two major caveats, however. The first and most important is to be wary of the information source. Not everything on the Internet is reliable or true. Search and research every piece of information. Never bluff by adding spice to your narrative. The second is not to overdo the data. Too many facts and statistics may find you with a lost audience as boredom washes over.
Remember that the story or message is for your audience’s consumption. It can impact their lives and your reputation, so it pays to use only reliable information.
6 – Share Personal Experience
There is a well-known saying, “experience is the best teacher and sharing it makes a classroom.”
Personal experience of success over unimaginable challenges is worth sharing. Audiences are always captivated with this kind of storytelling. Real-life drama unfolding before their very eyes! You are a living testament.
Most people consider personal experiences to be the ultimate highlight of a story. That personal touch can pierce the hearts of the audience. The use of this technique to create an impact and connection with an audience is a huge plus.
7 – Keep It Emotional and Engaging
One of the best ways to engage with people is to connect with their emotions. We find evidence for this in blockbuster films. The more drama added to a film, the more it appeals to the viewers.
The same is true of storytelling, connecting with people’s emotions. Businesses make use of different storytelling techniques when promoting brands and products.
Take advantage of the emotional content of a story to convey an essential point. On the surface it keeps the audience engaged whilst its impact creeps subliminally into the minds of the audience.
8 – Tell Story Over Time
Storytelling gives life to the content of a message.
Have you ever wondered why books often begin with a short story before discussing a point? This is because storytelling conditions the mind to what it is about to receive. Narratives help to activate all the brain cells required for processing logic and information.
Don’t limit stories when they are relevant to the message. When every point has a related story the narrative becomes more emphatic. The drama behind the information you wish to convey will work wonders.
Telling tales is very useful when explanation becomes more challenging or the mood is becoming stale.
9 – Try Adding Humour
It is a well-known fact that humour helps our mental and physical health. A very complex event occurs within our bodies when we laugh and the result is for our well being.
A wholesome punchline added to the storyline creates a healthier discussion.
Creating humour is a skill. It is a challenge since audiences will have different levels of perception. Sharing a funny story is akin to cracking a joke and generates keen attention from the audience.
As a precaution, be mindful of turning yourself into a stand-up comedian; unless, that is precisely your job! The goal is to make an impact on people’s lives. The message is wasted if the only thing that is remembered is the joke. Hopefully, it goes without saying that jokes or amusing stories must suit the occasion and be audience-appropriate. If in doubt, leave it out!
10 – Practice What You Preach
It is best to align your storytelling with your personality. It is insincere to tell stories that don’t agree with the storyteller’s personal experience. Never tell stories if you are not convinced. It will soon become obvious to the audience and you will lose connection with them.
Practice what you preach. Align your storytelling to your own character. If you cannot change yourself, then don’t share it at all. The message will lose its authenticity and leave you a laughingstock.
The storyteller should exemplify the essence of the message.
Ultimate Goal- Deliver a Message
to Impact Lives
Whatever the technique used in storytelling, the goal remains the same, to have an impact on people’s lives!
How can we be resilient and emerge victorious from life’s challenges? Why do we get hurt? These are just two of the common, endless questions people ask.
Storytelling may not be the ultimate answer to these questions but narratives will relate to some people and help them find answers to their questions.
When we present stories filled with hope and courage, we are teaching the most valuable life lessons. They are worth repeating and can impact and inspire others.
These stories come from anywhere and everywhere. They might come from you!
Do you have an inspiring, compelling story to tell? Please share it with us through the comment section. This platform will ensure that your account will reach out to everyone.
Who knows? Your story might have a positive impact on others too!
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